And it's subtle, but when Christine Radogno drops the mic after dropping C.R.E.A.M. beats - Dolla Dolla Bill, y'all - it's the best throwdown moment since Eminem stopped throwing up long enough in "8 Mile" to win his battle. Who says fiscal conservatism has to be, well, conservative?
Chicago band Scattered Trees is about to drop their next album, Sympathy, due April 5. In fact, they've released the first single, Love and Leave.
But if you're off to see them tonight at Shubas, you may want to pack your ray shields. The video for that single brings a tortured love story from far, far away into the band's Chicago apartment, complete with some really sad stormtroopers and a withering Boba Fett.
The Force is strong in this one. So is the heartbreak.
And as with most of his work, Kanye just might have an instant classic.
Explosions, fast cars, the aforementioned bird woman (fallen angel/Phoenix) and discussing every thing from Devil worship to Illuminati conspiracies to booty calls with ballet in the background, sheep and even some fowl cannibalism, there really is something for the whole family here.
Now, at 34-plus minutes, this won't be getting massive play on MTV. Of course, unless Kanye turned into a "Guido Juicehead" macking at Miami Beach, his best chances of cracking that channel's primetime lineup revolve around awards show hijacking anyway.
But the real question may be whether the world is ready for the rock opera - hip hopera? - again? If anybody can pull it off, Kanye can.
But you can judge for yourself. Settle in at your desk, keep an eye out for the boss and put your company broadband to good use for a half hour.
The thought-filter challenged Chicago rapper/producer/gadfly/awards show menace is finishing work on his fifth studio album in six years - "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy". Normally a cause for celebration. But hold on, controversy has a habit of following West around.
Late Sunday afternoon he tweeted that his album art had been nixed by the nefarious "they":
Yoooo they banned my album cover!!!!! Ima tweet it in a few...
Side note: If you aren't following Kanye on Twitter, get on it now. He might be the best thing going in the microblogisphere.
But the days of keeping things under wraps are long behind us and, as promised, Kanye delivered the album art seen to the right via his Twitter stream. You may not be able to buy it anywhere, but there it is for free via TwitPic.
Banned in the USA!!! They tried to play me fam! They don't want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!
Now, this being Kanye, who knows if it's the real album cover he had planned. But, as always, it does make for a fun moment in the spotlight.
He went on on Twitter to criticize the "they" - he's yet to elaborate - and the history of nudity on album covers.
In the 70s album covers had actual nudity... It's so funny that people forget that... Everything has been so commercialized now.
And there's this thought as his stream of consciousness continued:
I know that cover just blew yall minds ... I wish yall could see how hard I'm smiling right now!!!
More likely to come.
UPDATE: West continued to rap up on Twitter, defending the art direction and his artistic vision in regard perceived appropriateness:
In all honesty ... I really don't be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers #Kanyeshrug!
I wanna sell albums but not at the expense of my true creativity.
And the hits just keep on comin'. Teen star Miley Cyrus is in the glare again this week after the above video surfaced on TMZ (watch it here; they disabled the embed) showing her grinding and lap dancing with a 44-year-old man when she was 16.
The video was filmed by fans at last year's wrap party for Miley's latest movie, "The Last Song." The man she's dirty-dancing with is the film's director and frequent "So You Think You Can Dance" judge Adam Shankman. This next factoid has been trotted out as if it somehow makes the sight less unsettling: Shankman is gay.
Not present at this party: Cyrus' parents or boyfriend/co-star Liam Hemsworth.
Some campy, possibly suggestive photos of Cyrus and Shankman were spread around earlier online, as well. Shankman previously responded to those on Twitter: "Miley is a sweet angel who works tirelessly and endlessly, and is allowed to have fun in the make up room! ... Seriously! Lighten up or no more behind the scenes pics! She's like my angel little sister."
Further evidence of the slut-ifying of Cyrus can be seen in her new music video for the song "Can't Be Tamed," in which she appears as an avain dominatrix of some sort ...
She seems to be following, to the letter, the steps outlined in the manual How to Become Britney Spears.
In other news, Cyrus was at least spotted recently dating someone her own age. She and fellow teen phenom Justin Bieber (who got big laughs and respect not long ago for being 16 and joking suggestively about buying panini for an older woman on national TV) were seen dining together in Hollywood early this week.
OK Go are no strangers to innovative music videos done with a minimum, some might say shoestring, budget. And the band, formerly of Chicago but resettled in Los Angeles, has done it again, though this time the shoestring isn't just the budget, it might just a part of the shoot.
They tapped a group called Synn Labs to help build a Rube Goldberg machine, a device of overly complex mechanisms made to do relatively simple tasks, to not only provide a backdrop for the video or "This Too Shall Pass," off the new album "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky," but also to play part of the tune.
When the rock band OK Go, famous for their viral videos including the spectacular and award winning "treadmills video", wanted to feature a 4-minute long Rube Goldberg Machine in an upcoming video, they tapped Syyn Labs to build it. The requirements were that it had to be interesting, not "overbuilt" or too technology-heavy, and easy to follow. The machine also had to be built on a shoestring budget, synchronize with beats and lyrics in the music and end on time over a 3.5 minute song, play a part of the song, and be filmed in one shot. To make things more challenging still, the space chosen was divided into two floors and the machine would use both.
So, after several months of construction and planning, it all came down to less than 4 minutes of one-shot filming, some luck and a memorable premise to give OK Go another viral video effort. Amazing, there's even a blooper reel of sorts according to the band's Twitter stream, though how any mistakes could be squeezed into that production is a miracle.
And as for that treadmill video for "Here It Goes Again," there are two reasons you won't find it embedded on this post: A) If you haven't seen it yet, you're one of the three people left in the world with that distinction, so consider this an effort to preserve your unique status and B) Record companies are evil. But don't take our word for it - OK Go's Damian Kulash Jr. breaks it down nicely in this New York Times op/ed piece on the homemade delivery of their famous video onto then upstart YouTube and the ensuing scrum label EMI began over the unsanctioned posting of the work.
As the age of viral video dawned, "Here It Goes Again" was viewed millions, then tens of millions of times. It brought big crowds to our concerts on five continents, and by the time we returned to the studio, 700 shows, one Grammy and nearly three years later, EMI's ledger had a black number in our column. To the band, "Here It Goes Again" was a successful creative project. To the record company, it was a successful, completely free advertisement.
Now we've released a new album and a couple of new videos. But the fans and bloggers who helped spread "Here It Goes Again" across the Internet can no longer do what they did before, because our record company has blocked them from embedding our video on their sites. Believe it or not, in the four years since our treadmill dance got such attention, YouTube and EMI have actually made it harder to share our videos.
It went further. The original version of "This Too Shall Pass," shot with members of the Notre Dame marching band, also had embedding disabled by YouTube and EMU - you can see that effort here. The new video is embeddable only because a sponsorship deal was worked out with State Farm Insurance, reports Mashable.com.
UPDATE, MARCH 10: The creative tensions seem to have boiled over - OK Go has split ways with EMI, which released the following statement:
"OK Go, the band whose inventive internet campaigns and self-directed
music videos have set records and won the band a GRAMMY® Award, and EMI
Music's Capitol Records, the band's label since 2001, have agreed to
part ways by mutual agreement. OK Go has formed their own independent
label, Paracadute Recordings. They will take on all distribution and
promotion functions for their latest album, Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky,
which was released in January. 'We'd like to thank the people at EMI
Music who have worked so hard on our behalf,' said OK Go singer Damian
Kulash. EMI Music said: 'We've really enjoyed our relationship with OK
Go. They've always pushed creative boundaries and have broken new
ground, particularly with their videos. We wish them the greatest
success for the future.'"
But enough of sticking it to The Man. This is about the work. Enjoy the video - gloriously embedded here. And if you're so inclined, the boys will be back in Chicago for a show at the Metro on April 17 - and come ready to Tweet, pic and post.
By Thomas Conner on February 8, 2010 3:25 PM
Winter -- and snow -- is finally upon us. Here are some sugested tunes from this blogger's winter playlist that's been growing over the years like snow on the backyard tables. Some of them are explicitly wintry, some just feel chilly ...
Rumors have sputtered among people who care for a while now -- since the band announced an official hiatus last summer -- but now the leaders of the Chicago-area band seem to be confirming. Pete Wentz wrote as much Tuesday on his blog: "As far as I know, Fall Out Boy is on break ... I can't predict that I'd ever play in Fall Out Boy again." But singer Patrick Stump minced fewer words, telling Spin: "I'm not in Fall Out Boy right now."
"Something would have to change in my head or my heart - not my wallet. It'd have to be real."
"A hiatus is forever until you get lonely or old, [and] I don't plan on either."
"Feel like I have to be honest but fair to my bros in the band at the same time -- it's no1's fault ppl grow apart."
"Not gonna speak to anything publicly about the band internally. My brothers 2 the grave. Thnx 4 being there from day 1."
They are, indeed, working on other things. Stump has a solo record coming soon. FOB guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley have joined members of Anthrax to form a new band called the Damned Things. Wentz and wife Ashlee Simpson are goo-gooing with baby Bronx, and Wentz has recorded a track for the "Alice in Wonderland" soundtrack.
After pulling the latest iWant device out of his coat, Colbert jokingly asked Jay-Z "did you not get one of these in your gift bag?" He also asks his daughter, Madeline, if she finally thinks he's cool. (The answer: No. She must be a PC.)
OMG ... OMG ... OMG!!! Nick Jonas! Loves the fans!
And here's the proof. Sort of. The youngest Jonas - age is the only way to really tell them apart without starting an argument over cuteness - was in Chicago recently with his band, the Administration, for a show at the Rosemont Theatre. But before he went on stage, he took some time to meet the fans, and even offered up a little acoustic set.
Sadly(?) he sings so quietly that you can't really hear above the warbling of the assembled teens. But the fan who captured Nick was happy, according to their posting on YouTube. And really, isn't that what it's all about?
Nick Jonas singing Rose Garden and Who I Am
this was before his concert on 1.17.2010
he was originally going to go around and meet all of the fans
he met half, then got called to soundcheck
so he sang these two songs for the other half of the fans.
By Thomas Conner on January 15, 2010 10:51 AM
Amid all the madness currently steaming in late-night TV, enjoy this non-Conan-Leno bit of hilarity from last night's Jimmy Fallon show, in which "Neil Young" (yes, that's Fallon) sings the country's next big hit -- "American Idol" sensation "Pants on the Ground":
Time for another installment of Odd Battle of the Bands.
Radiohead, meet Hanson. Hanson, Radiohead. The Mmm, Bop boys, now actual shaving, rocking, older members of the pop music world, take on Thom Yorke's "Optimistic" in this clip (kind of ironic, kind of perfect for them).
Anyway, take a listen - I bet Radiohead has never experienced the level of screaming teen lust you can hear in the background - and then enjoy a live version of the original below. You be the judge.
And for the control subject, here's the "Kid A" album version: